Digital comics | Watchmen co-creator David Gibbons discusses the comics he’s making for the Madefire digital app: “The term that we bandied around was that reading comics on the Madefire platform is a bit like reading comics on “intelligent” paper in that it’s got all the virtues of regular paper but it can do a whole lot of other things that a printed version can’t. There are wonderful things it can do with movement of the tablet, with animated transitions, and with ambient and event sound. We’ve also talked about creating the new grammar of graphic storytelling.” [ICv2]
Creators | A sold-out appearance by Stan Lee scheduled for Sept. 27 at Ohio’s Toledo-Lucas County Public Library has been canceled because of what the legendary writer’s agent reportedly described as “a very serious circumstance.” The library had sold 2,300 tickets for the “Authors! Authors!” series event, which had already been moved from April 18 because of a scheduling conflict. Lee, who turns 90 in December, cut short some public appearances in May, with a spokesman citing promotional fatigue and the death of Lee’s longtime business associate Arthur Lieberman. [Toledo Blade]
Being a judge in the Eisner Awards meant making hard choices. It’s like being an admissions officer at Harvard: You could make a top-notch set of picks, throw them away, and still have a strong field for the second set. With six judges each having a different voice, sometimes a book that one or two of us think is the greatest thing since sliced bread doesn’t make the final cut.
Here’s my short list of comics that, if it were up to me, would have gotten Eisner nominations.
Best Limited Series
One of my favorite series of 2011 was Spontaneous, by Brett Weldele and Joe Harris. It’s a great crypto-mystery about spontaneous human combustion, with a nerdy know-it-all played off against an aggressive reporter. The story has its flaws, but I couldn’t put it down.
Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7)
Nina in That Makes Me Mad: We had an unusually strong field of children’s books, even after we split the category into two age groups, but this book was my first choice for a nomination. The writing is sharp and perceptive, and Hilary Knight’s illustrations are amazing. Even the page layouts are awesome. This is a book that speaks directly to children, in a voice they can understand, yet does it with an elegance that adults can appreciate as well.
Happy Easter and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look back at the comics and other stuff we’ve checked out recently.
To see what Chris and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click the link below.
Broadway | Michael Cohl and Jeremiah Harris, producers of the troubled Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, talk candidly about the $70-million musical — or “$65 plus plus,” as Cohl says — as it shuts down for more than three weeks for a sweeping overhaul. Will the production, plagued by delays, technical mishaps, injuries and negative reviews, hurt their reputation? “It might,” Cohl concedes. “It’s a matter of the respect of those whose opinions I care about. Most will recognize that Jere and I stepped in dog poo and are trying to clean it up and pull off a miracle. We might not.”
In related news, Christopher Tierney, the actor who was seriously injured on Dec. 20 after plummeting 30 feet during a performance, will rejoin rehearsals on Monday. [Bloomberg, The Hollywood Reporter]
MoCCA on the East Coast, Stumptown on the West Coast—the past two weeks have been busy ones for comics creators and fans alike. I made it to MoCCA, but the grass is always greener on the other side of the country, and it looks like there was a lot to see—and buy—at Stumptown. Here’s a sample of the offerings, starting with Dylan Meconis’s slew of tiny watercolor paintings, above.
Cartoonists don’t usually pop up on money blogs, but at American Express’s Currency site, Douglas Wolk talks to Dylan Meconis about how she financed the print edition of her webcomic Family Man. Basically, she says, “I asked the internet very nicely,” and her fans ponied up $11,000 to cover costs. Meconis explains why she didn’t use Kickstarter, and delves into nuts-and-bolts issues like health insurance, her next big purchase, and her other work:
What’s the biggest misconception people have about cartoonists’ finances? I’m sure some people think that we’re all just rolling in that sweet Internet money. But there’s a lot of background work that you don’t get to see as a fan, because it’s just freelance engagements: a lot of commercial illustration, a lot of educational comics and corporate comics, to explain a new business process or do a training manual or something. A lot of companies want that cool graphic-novel feel—to keep people awake during a PowerPoint.
Dylan Meconis went to San Diego Comic-Con, and she took notes. Meconis, the creator of the Family Man and Bite Me, posted her con sketchbook to Flickr, and her sharp observations, fluid line, and stable of interesting friends make this a fascinating souvenir. (Via Comics Worth Reading.)
Attention, aspiring comics writers and weary comics artists: Sara Ryan and friends are about to make your lives much easier. On her blog, Ryan and a few of her comics-making chums are offering advice for writers on what not to do when writing comics scripts for others to draw.
Ryan — who’s currently wrapping up the script for her upcoming DC/Vertigo graphic novel Bad Houses — kicked things off by reminding us that it’s awfully hard to have a character do more than one thing per panel, even though it comes naturally to us to rattle off several actions in the course of a sentence.
Next up is Supergirl artist Ron Randall, who among other things notes that telling an artist to “impress me” with a particularly memorable scene or sequence is a roundabout way of insinuating that he or she otherwise isn’t all that impressive. And finally (for now), Family Man‘s Dylan Meconis offers seven tips, warning against everything from the overuse of film jargon to telling rather than showing to the dreaded words “Have fun with this!”
(Via Hope Larson)
Making fun of history has been a good gig for quite a while. I grew up reading Richard Armour’s fractured retellings of history-book standards, such as It All Started with Columbus, and of course Mad Magazine was a reliable source of misinformation. (The Marx/Marx Brothers and Lenin/Lennon confusion lingered for an embarrassingly long time, thanks to them.) And then there is Blackadder, a show whose humor content scales directly with the viewer’s knowledge of British history.
Mock history has proven to be a fertile vein on the web as well. It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t love Kate Beaton’s Hark, A Vagrant. Reading her irreverent takes on historical topics is sort of like sitting in the back of class drawing moustaches on the Founding Fathers.